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Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby maverick » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:59 pm

Not in the Sierra's, but in the Siskiyou Wilderness is a place called
the "Devil's Punchbowl" talk about endless switchbacks!



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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:23 pm

I'd second Markskor. That is easily the most annoying set of pointless switchbacks I've ever seen, except for another one that was bypassed sometime in the the early 80's: this was between Blue Lake and Dingleberry Lake. Technically you wouldn't call this a switchback: the trail went down one side of a low angle gully (losing at least 100' and probably more) than reversed itself and came right back with the two ends of the thing no more than 150 yards from each other across terrain that was no more difficult to build a trail than that which the spectacularly pointless hairpin was built over--the whole thing felt like a mile, but I'm sure it wasn't that far. I know I did this in 1977 (while hiking on a blown-out knee) and I recall they had built across the gully by 1983 and certainly by 1997. In 1977 there was a wooden sign at Blue Lake that was supposed to read Dingleberry 1 mile which was woefully short. Some person who clearly felt as we did carved a "0" after the one. My dad and I took a photo of that sign.

I would agree that the 500' drop on the way up to Shepherd is frustrating but it isn't so much the switchbacks that are the issue as the fact the trail loses elevation that was so hard fought.

Now I can think of some switchbacks I actually think are cool....Lower Sphinx Creek coming off of Bubbs. Those are spectacular. You really feel like you are looking straight down on the lower switchbacks.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby sierramel » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:47 pm

ceragold5150......
Are we not insulted here...... ? Boys (girls?)?
You are talking down to ( ;) ) a group of superbly conditioned specimens of the genus: "mountianeous manus" (except for probably me: older, studmuffin, chick-type person). These guys are not weekend warriors. No hanging around, spare-time, couch potatos here. No! These guys can do push-ups with their tongues! (Watch out girls!).
The switchbacks mentioned (and I've been up a LOT of them), heretofore, can kick the a$$ off your average mountian gorrilla.
No forays, up middlin little hills, these. They be big, bad, grunty, dirty, sweaty, rocky, altitudinous, crazy, often pointlessly and poorly designed goat-tracks in the wilderness.
Ah, HA! But what satisfaction one derives from making it to the top (or bottom) of one of these miserable marvels without killing oneself, and seeing what "the bear saw".
:moon: :)
"Some places remain unknown because no one has ventured forth. Others remain so because no one has ever come back."
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby Baffman » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:04 am

I have climbed Baxter, Sawmill and Taboose numerous times, but I have to say I really disliked going up the Copper Creek trail out of Roads End. I was already tired and got a late start though.The worst I've ever seen is the trail between Simpson Meadow and State Lakes. Luckily, I was going downhill, but that was still rough. Super steep, open (hot) and sandy.
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:37 pm

Baffman wrote:...I was already tired and got a late start though.The worst I've ever seen is the trail between Simpson Meadow and State Lakes...


Nice thing about the State Lakes area, it really has the feeling of being remote and not so visited, and the lakes are beautiful. I went UP the trail from Simpson Meadow to State Lakes, and it did not seem so bad, but then again, I had been on the trail for over two weeks.
The Copper Creek Trail, which I have done too many times (once covered with snow), should only be done (going uphill) with an early start and rested. That last pull to the first camps can be a real trudge. What is interesting it that trail is a very old trail, a trail John Muir did. If you get off the trail and on the ridge leading to the trees 3/4 the way up to Granite Basin (near the "tent" rock) you can find the old trail, which went pretty much straight up, but not too bad. A trail made by bears and Native Americans.
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http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby AldeFarte » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:46 pm

I don't normally think of switchbacks as being "worst" .They are just part of the "game" However, Going downhill is another story once the knees and ankles become an aggravation. I have been out of Kings Canyon on the Copper creek trail and to Swamp lakes via Deer cove trail via Grizzly lakes, etc. Going uphill was actually quite cool both ways. The trick is to tackle the slog uphill in the PM and overnight at Frypan meadow , and ,or Ferguson meadow. {not my idea} But the summit passes are much more amenable and pretty in the AM light. I must say that both returns are tough and were accomplished after an already tough hike to the passes and finished by headlamp. Young studs insistence indeed! That region seems like a backwater of the sierra. The only disappointment was the fishing, but what do I know? Maybe I will check it out again someday.
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby ndwoods » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:34 pm

I had no problem with Copper Creek, they are appropriate to the trail...the most annoying I think are the Yosemite Falls cobblestones....hate those things! Worst switchbacks I have ever hiked were not in the Sierra but in the Marble Mtns....Lake of the Island. My whole family remembers that trip!:)
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby hikerchick395 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:00 am

I, too, am annoyed by the dang rip rap on the Yosemite Falls trail...going down. (They were putting in more steps on the Yosemite Falls trail this summer!)

Not particularly looked forward to...Bear Ridge.

Perception of switchbacks depend on how you remember (or don't remember) them from previous visits. I had a tough time with Glen Pass the last time as I just didn't remember it at all, even though I had been up and over 5 or 6 times previously.

That section of trail between Blue Lake and Dingleberry Lake (across the gully) was constructed in 1989.
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby Cross Country » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:12 pm

When encountering switchbacks like the one above Anvil and the one near Barney it appears that lots of people just cut them. I've been up these 2 and 3 times each. It's also true (cutting) of the ones that go to Timber Gap from Mineral King. I can't imagine what the engineer was thinking when he planned the 1st 2.
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby ERIC » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:39 pm

sierramel wrote:ceragold5150......
Are we not insulted here...... ? Boys (girls?)?
You are talking down to ( ;) ) a group of superbly conditioned specimens of the genus: "mountianeous manus" (except for probably me: older, studmuffin, chick-type person). These guys are not weekend warriors. No hanging around, spare-time, couch potatos here. No! These guys can do push-ups with their tongues! (Watch out girls!).
The switchbacks mentioned (and I've been up a LOT of them), heretofore, can kick the a$$ off your average mountian gorrilla.
No forays, up middlin little hills, these. They be big, bad, grunty, dirty, sweaty, rocky, altitudinous, crazy, often pointlessly and poorly designed goat-tracks in the wilderness.
Ah, HA! But what satisfaction one derives from making it to the top (or bottom) of one of these miserable marvels without killing oneself, and seeing what "the bear saw".
:moon: :)


HAHAHA!!!! Perfect description of you lot. Post of the year!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby paul » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:01 pm

Well, I just gotta do it. I gotta be the one to say I like the Bear Ridge switchbacks. I like them because they do not mess around - once you start up it is a steady grade. Plus there's pretty good shade most of the way.
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Re: Worst Switchbacks in the Sierras...

Postby oldranger » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:04 pm

You've all said everything profound and insightful to say about how we perceive switchbacks. The one I dislike the most is the last switchback going down from the high trail/Isberg Pass trail when I am heading to or from the Red Peak Pass trail. The only time I took the trail is when my daughters rebelled against any more cross country travel after leading them from red Peak Pass to Adair lake and back to the Merced Peak Fork. The other times I just cut across the Triple Peak Fork valley.

But all in all I don't mind switchbacks--they are just part of the game--But I'd hate to head out of Pate Valley in the afternoon in the late summer up toward the Pleasant Valley-Rogers Lake Trail--about 3,600 feet of sw facing slopes some of which is a recent burn and--probably no water. There is a reason why grass grows a foot tall in the middle of the trail!

Mike
Last edited by oldranger on Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike

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